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Everything you need to Know about Minoxidil and its Uses for Hair Growth

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At whatever age it might happen, hair fall is a serious concern and needs immediate redressal. While losing 50-100 strands of hair in a day is considered normal, if you lose more strands than that consistently over time, it is a cause of concern. The most common cause of hair loss is genetic, also known as androgenetic alopecia. This progressive hereditary condition causes hair follicles to shrink, producing thinner, finer hairs over time. Hereditary hair loss occurs because of an inherited hormonal sensitivity passed down from either or both parents. Patterned hair loss is a common issue that males face, starting from the temples or the crown. For women, hair loss doesn’t always follow a recognisable pattern. It may present itself as a widening part, patchy hair loss, or thinning.

Minoxidil is commonly used to slow down hair loss and can be purchased over the counter. It is available in solutions of 2% and 5% strengths and can be formulated as a foam or a liquid. The minoxidil hair foam or the liquid works to prevent and slow down hair loss. Hair regrowth is seen as a side effect of the minoxidil treatment. Since it cannot be used to create new hair follicles, minoxidil is effective when you use it in the early stages of hair loss. One study has shown that a 5% Minoxidil solution is more effective than a 2% Minoxidil solution when containing hair loss.

How does Minoxidil Work?

Hair growth has a three-phase cycle: Anagen, Catagen, and Telogen. Each phase has its importance in hair growth, and to understand how Minoxidil works, let’s first talk about these three phases.

  • The first phase, known as the anagen phase, is when the hair follicles receive blood supply and actively grow. On average, every 28 days, our hair grows about half an inch. Depending on your age, this may be faster or slower. This phase lasts about 3-6 years before the next phase is triggered. In this phase, the cells in the hair roots divide and push upwards.
  • The second phase, known as the catagen phase, is when the hair follicles don’t receive adequate blood supply and growth stops. In this phase, the hair follicle is pushed upwards for the new hair to grow beneath it.
  • The last phase is the telogen phase, in which the hair rests and stays in its place as hair in the anagen phase grows. The hair remains in its place until it is pushed outwards by the incoming hair from the anagen phase, thus, restarting the cycle.

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For people who suffer from hair loss conditions, the anagen phase gets shorter, and the telogen phase gets longer. This means that the hair follicle spends more time resting and not growing.

Minoxidil works as a vasodilator on the scalp to widen the blood vessels and help deliver more oxygen-rich blood to the hair follicles. It also helps increase the size of hair follicles, which promotes the growth of thicker, stronger hair. This treatment also reduces the resting phase of hair growth and keeps the hair follicles in the growth phase for longer. People who use minoxidil regularly see results within a few months of using it.

The minoxidil hair growth foam or liquid is very effective at preventing hair loss, but the usage needs to be proper to get the best results. Applying the minoxidil hair foam or liquid is easy, but ensure you prepare your hair and scalp for it. Let’s see a few essential points and instructions below on how to use it.

  • Consistently use minoxidil on your scalp at least once every day. Don’t forget to use it daily if you want to see results. Usually, mornings are the best time to apply it.
  • The minoxidil foam for hair growth or minoxidil liquid takes at least three to six months to show results.
  • Minoxidil is a spot treatment for hair loss. It is available in foam and liquid form, and as per your scalp type (oily, normal, flaky), you can apply it directly on the scalp.
  • Use minoxidil on a dry scalp, as moisture can affect its absorbency.
  • Avoid washing your hair till at least four hours after using minoxidil.
  • Apply the minoxidil solution to the balding areas of your scalp. Use your fingers to spread the solution over the target area. Make sure to wash your fingers properly after you do this.
  • Allow the minoxidil solution to dry naturally, and do not cover your scalp till at least two to four hours after using the solution.

Side effects of Minoxidil

Minoxidil is considered one of the safest treatments for hair growth. But like any other medication, it can have some unwanted side effects. While these side effects are temporary and can resolve on their own. However, if these persist, you should consider stopping minoxidil and contacting a doctor. These side effects are usually mild and transient, which can cause inconvenience and improve over time. Some common side effects include:

  • Itchiness
  • Skin rashes
  • Flaky skin
  • Seborrheic dermatitis
  • Temporary hair shedding
  • Scalp irritation or burning skin
  • Pruritus (itchy, dry skin)
  • Allergic reactions, such as contact dermatitis

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Which one is better? Minoxidil foam vs Minoxidil liquid

The minoxidil solution is available in two formulations: a liquid solution that is applied using a dropper and a foam that comes in a spray bottle. Both formulations are equally effective in stimulating hair growth and treating hair loss. If you are looking at effectiveness as a parameter, then there is no difference between the two.

However, let’s look at the other advantages and disadvantages of minoxidil foam for hair growth or minoxidil liquid to make a better choice.

  1. Convenience of Use – When used over time, applying and masking either of the variants to the scalp will only take a few minutes to complete. However, some users have claimed that using the foam version is more manageable. It is less oily, absorbs quickly, doesn’t drip, and easily fits into the routine.
  2. Easy to Apply – Both versions are easy to apply. The liquid version comes with a dropper that you can use to quickly and accurately apply to the affected areas of your scalp. This may be helpful if you have long hair and need to apply minoxidil only to specific areas. The foam version comes in a can with a nozzle, dispensed on the fingers and then applied to the scalp. This foam can be used on short hair or if hair thinning affects a large part of your scalp.
  3. Risks of Sensitivity – The liquid version of minoxidil is said to contain propylene glycol, which is common in cosmetics. However, it is known to cause scalp irritation. If you know your scalp is sensitive, then using the foam version will be a better option.
  4. Looks – The liquid version of minoxidil is said to leave the scalp oily, and some people might not like that throughout the day, especially if you are applying it in the morning. With the foam version, you do not face this issue. To avoid this, you can use minoxidil at night and wash it off the following day.

We’ll conclude by saying that though minoxidil is not a magic potion for hair loss, many studies done over the years have shown that minoxidil is effective and has shown positive effects for people suffering from hair loss. You can check out the Clensta Lock-in Hair Growth Foam, which has 5% Minoxidil for longer, thicker hair.